President Trump Takes Chance, Halts Stimulus Talks Until After The Election

( Those hoping for more economic stimulus funds in the near future were dealt a big blow on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump instructed his negotiators to stop talking with Democrats about a new stimulus package, opting to hold off until after the November 3 election. While talks came to a complete standstill over the summer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had talked almost every day for the last week or so trying to hammer out their differences.

Now, those negotiations will have to wait.

As the president tweeted Tuesday afternoon:

“I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business.”

While Pelosi and Mnuchin were still far apart in negotiations, they were working hard on trying to figure out a deal. In fact, they had talks scheduled for Tuesday afternoon before Trump sent that tweet.

Now, Americans will have to wait until after the election for any hope of economic relief they’ve been hoping would come to fruiting sometime soon.

Trump’s sudden decision to end negotiations took many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle by storm. Many Democrats and Republicans in Congress — especially those facing tough re-election battles — were hoping for a stimulus deal to be struck so they could use that as campaign fodder.

Senators Lisa Murkowski from Alaska and Susan Collins from Maine are two Republicans who have come out and criticized the president for halting stimulus talks. These two Senators have also said they would not support a quick Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

As Murkowski said on Tuesday:

“Now is not the time for the Congress to stop doing its work. I strongly believe that negotiations should continue, particularly among those of us in Congress. We all need to keep working until we reach a bipartisan agreement that can pass both chambers and be signed by the president.”

Collins said:

“Waiting until after the election to reach an agreement on the next COVID-19 relief package is a huge mistake.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, though, said he supported Trump’s decision to end stimulus negotiations for now. He said:

“I think his view was that they were not going to produce a result and we need to concentrate on what’s achievable.”

McConnell alluded to two big points in that statement.

First, even if Pelosi and Mnuchin had come to an agreement, it was likely that it would have faced strong resistance from Republicans in the Senate, who have preached patience and reduced spending.

Second, the more important thing on the docket for the president at this moment is the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. The focus should not be taken away from getting that accomplished before election day, the president’s thinking goes.

Halting stimulus negotiations until after the election comes with a lot of risk for Trump, though.

Even if Trump beats Joe Biden and wins re-election, it’s possible Republicans could lose control of the Senate, which could make negotiations in the future even more difficult. If that happens, Pelosi could simply refuse to take up any bill the Republicans propose until the new Congress starts in January.

Of course, there’s also the chance Trump loses the election and, as a result, has no say whatsoever in the next stimulus package.